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Kern Cournty’s proposal for waste collection can be protested

Kern County Board of Supervisors–

The Kern County Board of Supervisors proposed a resolution to establish the Ridgecrest Universal Collection Area (UCA) for the unincorporated properties that make up the six mandated census tracts that comprise the Ridgecrest area, excluding the City of Ridgecrest. These tracts are in the unincorporated area surrounding the incorporated City of Ridgecrest, with Highway 395 (to the East), San Bernardino County Line (to the West), and Inyokern Road(to the North) as bordering the collection area.

The resolution designates the basic level of service to include one 96-gallon cart for garbage serviced once per week, one 96-gallon cart for organics serviced once per week, and one 96-gallon blue recycling cart serviced bi-weekly. Multi-family properties using bin service will be provided 240 gallons of combined service per residential living unit per week. Also included is per monthly call in curbside large household item collection for all residential living units.

All residential properties within the Universal Collection Area will be required to have solid waste collection services (universal trash collection) provided by a franchise trash hauler. There is a Land Use Fee on the annual county property tax bill, but it is not for the universal trash collection program. The Land Use Fee is the residential property’s share of the cost of managing the landfills and other components of the waste disposal system throughout Kern County.

All affected properties in the proposed Universal Collection Areas were sent a notification by mail that they would be subject to the proposed rate. The rate for the solid waste collection service, including all costs mandated by SB 1383, will be $559.80 per residential unit per year, including a $12.00 per unit per year Solid Waste Administration Fee. This rate will be put forth for a Prop 218 hearing on December 5, 2023, for the Ridgecrest UCA and, if approved, will be placed on the property tax roll. There is also an additional price by service list for additional waste collection services.

Future annual increases in the rate will be based on the CPI as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ All Urban Consumers Index for Garbage and Trash Collection without a protest hearing for five years.

Many property owners in the unincorporated area surrounding the City of Ridgecrest feel that the County did not explore alternative options or seek input from the affected property owners prior to submitting the proposal to a Proposition 218 process and are protesting the proposal. Residents cannot opt out of the mandatory trash collection program. There will be no exceptions. This program requires all habitable residential properties in the collection area to have solid waste collection services. There is a public hearing scheduled on December 5 in Bakersfield.

In September 2023, Kern County sent out a public hearing notice for the proposed mandatory trash collection program for properties in the Ridgecrest Universal Collection Area. The mailer included a place for the affected property owner to sign if they wished to protest the proposal and mail the mailer back to Kern County prior to the December 5, 2023, hearing.

California law Proposition 218 allows a legal contest of an impending law with a successful protest of a “50% plus one” majority. For the protest to be successful, the Kern County Clerk of the Board must receive at least 1,068 protest letters out of the pool of 2,134 affected property owners. All letters must be received prior to the beginning of the Prop 218 Hearing on December 5, 2023.

Numerous affected property owners have said that they did not realize the mailer they received from Kern County Waste Department could be returned to protest the proposed mandatory trash collection program. Some county residents who received the mailing from Kern County share that they disposed of the mailing without realizing they could protest the proposal.

The process to protest the waste collection program and the fee is very simple. Affected property owners who oppose the proposed increase to their annual county property tax bill of $559 need to sign a protest and mail it back to Kern County prior to the deadline. The property owner can sign the mailing they received from Kern County or sign a simple protest letter like the one accompanying this article and mail it to Kern County. You can submit one protest for each property owned in the proposed Universal Collection Area.

If you are unsure if you mailed in your protest, go ahead and send in one now. The county will be verifying that each protest they receive is an affected property and will only count one protest per property.

Written Protest Information

All interested parties may be heard by the board at the public hearing on December 5, 2023, but all protests must be received by the Clerk of the Board prior to the beginning of the December 5th hearing. You can protest by mailing or hand-delivering a protest letter or signed Public Hearing form prior to the beginning of the Public Hearing on December 5, 2023.

Your written protest may be in the form of a letter or may also be in the form of a petition with the Name, Address, and Signature of each separate protestor. Only one protest per parcel will be counted.

Mail written protests to Kern County Board of Supervisors Attn: Ridgecrest UCA 1115 Truxtun Avenue Bakersfield, CA 93301

Written protests for each affected parcel must include the following: Name of property owner or tenant, Address or parcel number (APN), Signed in a manner that allows confirmation of the owner’s name.

The public is invited to attend the hearing on December 5, 2023, which will be held in the Kern County Board of Supervisors Chambers in Bakersfield.